How many of us find ‘offence’ a hard thing to deal with? I doubt any of us find it easy – especially when you look at Matthew 24:10-12 – and betrayal, especially when it is by people you’d have considered friends – is particularly hard to deal with. I’ve been battling with that very issue in recent months – from three people – all of them betrayed me, using things in accusation or lies that they themselves have major problems with in their own lives. I know that in my life I’ve probably done the same thing to other people (though I hope never betrayal) born out of something I needed God to deal with in me. The three recent occurrences I’ve battled with are from one person I’ve known 35 years, one 20 years, and one much more recent. like in 8 years or so. But boy it hurts. Even when God’s shown you that stones being thrown at you are being hurled by people who live in glass houses…
I’ve been asking God to deal with that ‘instant’ offence that rises up without warning so that it doesn’t take root. That might sound easy, but if you’ve been betrayed or accused, it’s much easier said than done! I’ve forgiven the people concerned, believe (and feel) that I’m not carrying any offence (one was an unbelievable email from someone I’ve served for a number of years that I’m praying how to respond to as the accusations are all to do with his attitude to money giving him the right to control the beneficiary – and who’s not responded to nine ‘olive branch’ messages in 8 months). I so want to be like Jesus who, even in the middle of his crucifixion, chose not to take offence,
The marvellous compassionate preacher/teacher/writer Francis Frangipane says this:
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezek. 36:26).
God has a new heart for us, a heart that cannot be offended; it is an “unoffendable” heart. Beloved, possessing an unoffendable heart is not an option or a luxury; it’s not a little thing. Indeed, Jesus warns that, as we near the end of the age, many Christians will be so offended by the sin and lawlessness in the world that they fall away from the faith.
Listen carefully to the Lord’s warning:
“Then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another . . . and because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold” (Matt. 24:10-12 KJV).
“Many” will “be offended.” The result? The love of “many” will grow cold. My prayer is that we will hear His words with holy fear.
When we allow an offense to remain and germinate in our hearts, it causes serious spiritual consequences. In the above verse Jesus named three dangerous results: betrayal, hatred and cold love. When we are offended with someone, even someone we care for, we must go to them. If we do not talk to them, we will begin to talk about them. We betray that relationship, whispering maliciously behind their back to others, exposing their weaknesses and sins.
We may mask our betrayal by saying we are just looking for advice or counsel, but when we look back, we see we have spoken negatively about the person to far too many people. Our real goal was not to get spiritual help for ourselves but to seek revenge toward the one who offended us. How is such action not a manifestation of hatred? For an offended soul, cold love, betrayal and hatred are a walk into darkness.
People don’t stumble over boulders; they stumble over stones, relatively small things. It may be that the personality of someone in authority bothers us, and soon we are offended. Or, a friend or family member fails to meet our expectations, and we take an offense into our soul. Beloved, if we will “endure to the end,” we will have to confront the things that bother us.
When Jesus warns that we need endurance, He is saying that it is easier to begin the race than finish it. Between now and the day you die, there will likely be major times of offense that you will need to overcome. You might be in such a time right now. Do not minimize the danger of harboring an offense!
No one plans on falling away; no one ever says, “Today, I think I’ll try to develop a hardened, bitter heart.” Such things enter our souls through stealth. It is only naiveté that assumes it couldn’t happen to us. I know many people who consistently become offended about one thing or another. Instead of dealing with the offense, praying about it and turning the issue over to God, they carry it in their soul until its weight disables their walk with God.
You may be doing fine today, but I guarantee you, tomorrow something will happen that will inevitably disappoint or wound you; some injustice will strike you, demanding you retaliate in the flesh. Will you find more love, and hence, continue your growth toward Christlikeness? Or will you allow that offense to consume your spiritual life?
There’s a great book by Rick Renner – ‘You can get over it: how to confront, forgive, and move on’ (https://www.amazon.co.uk/You-Can-Get-Over-Confront/dp/0977945928/ref=sr_1_19?crid=1TV2IKIOW77A9&keywords=rick+renner+books&qid=1561549901&s=gateway&sprefix=rick+renner%2Caps%2C645&sr=8-19)
which is very helpful. I’m re-reading the ‘confront’ part again and asking God if I should address the issues, but feeling – even as I write – ‘that Jesus opened not his mouth’. Better, perhaps to ‘move on’ from those ‘friendships’ (‘friendly fire’ isn’t a joke – it’s exceedingly painful) – much better ones have replaced them with people who don’t have a ‘control’ agenda, whereas the others did. I cannot understand why anyone would WANT to control another person or people – when love doesn’t control, doesn’t manipulate – those things are rooted in the Jezebel Spirit, (which I mentioned a few times in recent posts here and on Facebook because her activity is stepping up big time in this era). Read Revelation 2:20 if you want to read what some churches ‘look’ like, yet who they tolerate, and God is not pleased to say the least!
If you’ve suffered from betrayal, I want to you to know there’s a way through it. Jesus knows how you feel – he experienced it – and ask him to give you the power to confront (if you need to, but in love), forgive, and move on. It doesn’t mean that you have to be best friends with the person/people/church again, but you’re free as you’ve forgiven. And that’s the key.